Philosophy Ripped From The Headlines!, Issue #13, 1 (September 2018): Universal Basic Income and the Future of Pointless Work.

By Hugh Reginald

“Money For Nothing”

By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

The New Republic, 29 AUGUST 2018

URL = https://newrepublic.com/article/150506/universal-basic-income-future-of-pointless-work

Some Follow-Up Thoughts For Further Reflection and Discussion:

Is the following argument sound? If so, why? If not, why not?

  1. Of all the remaining jobs, many are simply bad and oppressive in some important way(s) or another: alienating, back-breaking, boring, commodifying, demeaning, dangerous, low paid, etc., etc. (shit jobs).
  2. In the near future, a great many jobs of all kinds will simply disappear via automation.
  3. Virtually all people would choose to do something with their lives that they themselves regarded as creative, meaningful, and satisfying, if freed from financial worries.
  4. Let’s call every so-regarded creative, meaningful, and satisfying life-project, of any kind, no matter how humble, provided that it sufficiently respects the human dignity of others, lifework.
  5. Poverty is a very bad thing and the existence of poverty in a society that is capable of abolishing poverty is a violation of sufficient respect for human dignity.
  6. If a Truly Generous Universal Basic Income, aka TGUBI (say, at least $25,000.00 USD per year) were made available to everyone 21 years of age or over, tax-free, to be reduced incrementally by 50 cents for every non-TGUBI dollar earned by that individual, down to 0 at the $25,000.00 non-TGUBI income level, then everyone over the age of 21 would have a yearly income of at least $25,000.00 USD, and poverty would be ended.
  7. Furthermore, if a system of Universal Basic Jobs, aka UBJs, were created that were, by definition and design, useful and productive, that paid a flat rate of $25,000.00 per year, were also tax-free, and involved working no more than 15 hours per week, and could ALSO be held along with a full TGUBI, were made available to anyone with a high-school education, 18 years of age or over, and minimally capable of doing the job, then anyone 21 or over who wanted to do something useful and productive AND ALSO wanted to have enough time left over to pursue lifework for the rest of their lives, could do so, on the basis of a yearly tax-free income of $50,000.
  8. If TGUBI and UBJs were jointly implemented, then not only would poverty be ended, and not only would no one 18 years of age or over have to take a bullshit job or shit ever again for purely financial reasons, but also anyone 21 years of age or over who wanted to have a useful, productive job and/or pursue lifework for the rest of their lives, could do so.
  9. A society in which TGUBI and UBJs were jointly implemented (along with universal free public healthcare and universal free public education including higher education) would be almost infinitely better than the contemporary USA, and significantly better than almost every other country in the world, in virtually every respect.
  10. Moreover, in comparatively wealthy countries, the dual system of TGUBI and UBJs (along with universal free public healthcare and universal free public education including higher education) really can be implemented by highly progressive taxation, and, in the USA and other heavily-militarized wealthy countries, by massive reductions in military spending.
  11. Therefore, the dual system of TGUBI and UBJs (along with universal free public healthcare and universal free public education including higher education) ought to be implemented by every country in the world that is economically capable of doing so, especially the USA.

A Link For Supplementary Reading:

D. Graeber, “The Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.”

BACK ISSUES

ISSUE #12, 3 (AUGUST 2018):

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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